While the popular song suggests “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” for some, this statement doesn’t ring true. The holidays are times of peace and joy, but for many, the season is filled with anxiety. According to a poll by the American Psychological Association, nearly a quarter of Americans reported symptoms of extreme stress during the holidays. A survey, conducted by Healthline in 2015, revealed that 62% of respondents describe their stress level as “very or somewhat” elevated during the holiday season.

What is the treatment for anxiety?

While there are prescription drugs available that are designed to treat anxiety, such as Xanax, most of the conventional medications can not only be costly but also harmful for you. Besides the risk of addiction, these pharmaceuticals contain severe side effects including paranoia, suicidal thoughts, impaired memory, judgment, and coordination. The good news is that there are natural solutions for anxiety.

One herbal remedy has been coined, “Chamomile Tea on Steroids,” “Nature’s Valium,” or “Nature’s Xanax,” but it’s real name is kava kava or just, kava. Kava is made from the roots of piper methysticum—a plant native to the islands of the South Pacific. While those who live on the islands have been employing the benefits of this muddy-tasting root for generations, kava is gaining momentum across the United States. Kava has been used to treat a variety of conditions such as insomnia, menopause, muscle strain, as well as anxiety.

How does kava help with anxiety?

Kava contains substances called kavalactones—the psychoactive part of the plant. The kavalactones interact with the limbic system, the complex system of nerves and network in the brain associated with emotions, promoting relaxation. A study, conducted in 2013, revealed that kava helps treat social and general anxiety disorders. While anxiety is known as a robber of sleep, kava is a slumber-enhancer, containing properties that help you doze off and stay asleep. Another perk of this natural remedy is that it promotes relaxation without dulling your mental edge. What makes kava more appealing than the leading pharmaceutical is that it’s non-addictive and considered low risk. Kava comes in the form of a supplement pill or a powder that can be mixed with liquid.

So this holiday season, instead of allowing stress to overwhelm you, relax with a nice cup of kava tea and let your anxieties melt away.

Russ Skinner, MD

Russ Skinner, MD

Dr. Russell Skinner is a board-certified medical doctor, the founder of Family Health and Wellness of Plano, and the Chief Medical Officer of My Wellbeing Compass. He is committed to maximizing the health and wellness of his patients by preventing disease, functionally treating illness, and promoting a healthy state of mind. read more...